What does Summer 2021 look like in Downtown Alpena?

May 28th, 2021 | Written by Kingsli Kraft

Memorial Day has always felt like the gateway to summer, or at the very least, it’s the metaphorical sign on the side of the road that tells you just how many miles away summer is. The weather is certainly leaning into summer already with at least two 80°F days behind us, and I don’t know about you but I’ve already been swimming in Lake Huron.

So with summer rising along the horizon, and this past chapter of uncertainty and cancelled plans starting to shift to the rearview mirror, we thought now would be a great time to share what Summer 2021 in Downtown Alpena looks like so far!

Events in 2021

Friday Night Street Performers | Every Friday Night from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Come downtown any Friday night during the summer months in Downtown Alpena and enjoy live music from talented local musicians and bands! There will be live music in Culligan Plaza, Avery Park and Pocket Park with more locations added throughout the summer! They kick off officially TONIGHT, and you can follow their Facebook Page for the most up-to-date information about who is performing where each week.

Coffee & Cars | Every Saturday all summer from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm starting June 5th, 2021

Coffee and Cars is a casual event for those who own classic cars and want to get out and enjoy Downtown Alpena on Saturday mornings with others that share their interests. To participate as a car collector, you just have to drive your classic or collectible car downtown and park anywhere within the district. Then grab a coffee from Cabin Creek or Biggby Coffee and hang out downtown, walk around to find the other cars, duck into a few stores to do some shopping, or just enjoy your coffee on a picnic table in Culligan Plaza or along Second Ave.

17th Annual Alpena Blues Festival | June 19th, 2021 from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am

The 17th Annual Alpena Blues Festival is set to go forward this summer on Second Avenue once more. Tickets are $30 and the festival will run from noon to midnight! The headliner is Thornetta Davis and the theme of the festival is Ladies of the Blues, so all of the acts are led by women! View all of the details and purchase tickets on their website.

Chalk it Up | June 26th, 2021 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Chalk it Up began in 2020 as a fun event to bring people downtown in a safe and socially distanced way. It was so fun, we decided to keep it going this year as well! So come on downtown and leave a little chalk art in Culligan Plaza, Avery Park, and along Water Street. Some chalk will be provided in those locations, and you’re welcome to bring your own as well! RSVP on Facebook where you can also stay updated on all the details.

Sidewalk Sales | July 15th – July 17th, 2021 during regular business hours

Sidewalk Sales are a summer tradition in Downtown Alpena and usually fall during Brown Trout Festival. We’ll be sharing more details in June, and for now mark your calendars for a fun weekend of shopping downtown.

The 47th Annual Brown Trout Festival | July 15th – July 25th, 2021

The Brown Trout Festival is the longest running fishing tournament in the Great Lakes! This year the Big Tent is set to return with nightly entertainment in addition to the fishing once more! You can view the 2021 Fishing Schedule and all the details on their website.

Fresh Waves 2021 | Official dates TBD!

Selected Artists will be announced next week and the dates the murals will be painted will announced in the coming months. This year the murals will be painted on free standing structures at the entrance to the City of Alpena Boat Harbor on Prentiss Street. This year we are hoping to host an Artist Reception with our artists once the mural are complete. You can read all about the Fresh Waves Mural Project on our website where we will also post the most up-to-date details.


The Maltz Opera House (AKA the State Movie Theater) is currently being renovated and restored by Alpena Marc.

Lily Colburn is moving downtown from their former location in the Alpena Mall! They carry brands like Prana, Toad & Co., Lole, Royal Robbins and more. You can follow along on their Facebook page for updates as they renovate their new space and it’s looking beautiful! 

The Maltz Opera House – As you may know, the former State Movie Theater is being renovated and restored to its former beauty and glory when it was the historic Maltz Opera House! You can follow along on their progress on their Facebook Page.

Hopside Brewery is hiring! They’re hoping to open soon, so if you know anyone looking for work, they’re hiring waitstaff, cooks, dishwashers and bartenders with weekday and weekend shifts available.

Sweet Baby James is also opening up downtown in the coming weeks. It will be a baby and childrens clothing store carrying infant sizes all the way up to 8T. Follow along on their Facebook Page to get a sneak peak at the adorable clothes and accessories they’ll have for little ones!

Cedar & Threads is another new shop opening up in Downtown Alpena across the street from the DDA offices on Chisholm St! You’ll see familiar faces when you follow their Facebook page as the store is being opened by Griffin and Andrea James from the Basket Case! They’ll have a selection of unique gifts and apparel in the store and will be opening very soon.

Rusty Petunias Marketplace’s Wine Bar is now open! They’re offering a selection of wines and a few beers as well. So you can sip some delicious wine while you shop, or sit and enjoy a glass with friends.

Sweet Baby James located on Park Place and 2nd Avenue.
Interior view of Cedar & Threads via their Facebook Page
Rusty Petunias Marketplace’s new wine bar via their Facebook Page

The New Social District The new downtown social district was approved Monday, May 17th, 2021 at the Alpena City Council Meeting. Basically this means that you’ll be able to grab an alcoholic beverage from your favorite bar/restaurant and take it to stroll around the downtown district. The boundaries will be marked with signage and the to-go cups will be clearly marked as well. You can learn more about the Social District–including the boundaries, the maintenance plan, rules, and more on our website.

The Poetics Lab is a new local organization whose mission is to facilitate inclusive spaces for communities to engage with identity through poetry and performance of the self. They are hosting a Summer Series Community Workshop June 7th through June 12th with a Community Performance June 12th at Art in the Loft. You can learn more about the workshop and their organization on their website.

This is just a small collection of the amazing things happening in Downtown Alpena, specifically within our district, that we can share right now! We do our best to keep up to date on everything that’s happening downtown and share what we can. You can learn more about planning a visit to our downtown or opening a business downtown on our website. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for day-to-day updates and information in the moment! For a more comprehensive look at what is going on in the Alpena Area, you can visit the Alpena Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau’s website.

Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for her numerous house plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.

One thought on “What does Summer 2021 look like in Downtown Alpena?

  1. Alpena is looking good. Am planning a trip back to visit family and friends in August.


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